Revealing the History of Walthamstow’s First Neighbourhood Co-operative Nursery
In the 1970s working parents struggled to find places in nurseries for their children. Today’s parents face a different set of challenges, not least the struggle to afford the cost of childcare. At Walthamstow’s First Neighbourhood Co-operative Nursery parents could work at the nursery in exchange for a reduced fee. Parent – members worked together to run the organisation and employ its staff. The nursery became an important feature of the local community, helping working parents with affordable childcare, while involving them in the education of their children and creating deep, lifelong friendships.
Oral history not-for-profit On the Record has received a £9,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Doing It Ourselves: The First Neighbourhood Co-operative Nursery, Walthamstow. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will record the history of this unique parent-led co-operative nursery and drop-in, led by a local parent and ex-member of the nursery, Eva Turner.
In 1977, childcare was a burning issue for working parents. A new toddler drop in was set up at Harmony Hall, Truro Road, E17 which gave space for parents to get together. It wasn’t long before they formed a parent co-operative to establish a nursery for under-fives. They found new premises at Verulam Avenue, Walthamstow, where it was based until the late 1980s. The nursery had a strong focus on innovative pre-school educational methods and provided training and employment opportunities for local parents.
Over the next year “Doing it Ourselves” will be collecting the memories of parents, staff and children involved in the nursery and starting an archive, to be held at Bishopsgate Institute in Liverpool Street. The project will culminate in an exhibition of collected material in local community centre The Mill and hold discussions and workshops, inviting local parents and children to contribute.
If you remember the nursery or are interested in becoming a volunteer researcher, photographer, archivist or in helping with project workshops and exhibitions, or for further information please contact On the Record: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0785 322 8023
Notes for Editors
About Doing it Ourselves
- Doing it Ourselves is a volunteer-led project supported by On the Record; a non-profit oral history co-operative specialising in amplifying the voices of those who have been hidden from history through workshops, trainings and creative productions, exhibitions, books, radio-shows and audiowalks.
- Bishopsgate Institute will house the project’s archive. For over 120 years, Bishopsgate Institute has been a home for ideas and debate, learning and enquiry and independent thought. We offer courses, workshops, talks and tours in subjects as diverse as London history, feminism, languages, Ballroom dancing, film studies, photography and creative writing. Our historic library, special collections and archives cover a variety of topics which explore radical, social, labour, feminist and gay history in London. The Institute is an oasis in the middle of a frantic city which provides you with the rare chance to explore, escape, research or relax.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
- Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.
On the Record is recruiting a freelance Youth Coordinator for their exciting new project Fighting Sus: Resisting and Repealing Stop and Search 1970-81. We are looking for someone with experience of both youth work and drama production.
Please send queries and applications to us at info(at)on-the-record.org.uk
When: Sunday 7th May, 5 – 7 pm
What: hear a roundtable of speakers who are engaged in cultural and community activities in related fields, reflect on the history of Centerprise as re-presented by a hackney autobiography and join the discussion. Receive a free copy of The Lime Green Mystery, preview the app and get help downloading it.
Speakers include: Toyin Agbetu from Ligali, Vivian Archer from Newham Bookshop, Nana Fani Kayode, teacher and radio producer, Gary Molloy from Core Arts, Marie Murray from Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and representatives from the Young Historians’ Project.
Before the party, there’s a unique chance to preview Inside Out Homerton – one of the audiowalks featured on the app, as a group. Meet at 3:30 at Homerton station. To book a place on the Inside Out Homerton audiowalk, please contact us by 21 April. Later bookings will be accepted if places remain available.People who don’t like smart phones are welcome!
Event organised in collaboration with Pages bookshop.
Pre-order your free copy of The Lime Green Mystery: An oral history of the Centerprise co-operative now, by emailing us with your address. Limited numbers available, pre-ordering is encouraged to avoid disappointment. Donations to cover the cost of postage appreciated but not essential.
The app and website is at https://www.ahackneyautobiography.org.uk/
From boyhood aspirations to grandfatherly wisdom, this open-access exhibition: Becoming Fathers: Reproductive Journeys in Malawi describes Malawian men’s diverse stories about fatherhood. Photographs overlaid with quotations highlight moments of transformation or decision in men’s reproductive journeys, as they navigate romantic relationships, beginning and planning their families, and grapple with threats to their sexual and reproductive health.
On the Record worked with the authors – Fiona Parrott, Green Kapira, Dorothy Makoka, Blessings Mwandosya, Aaron Ndovi, Levie Gondwe, Paston Mkandawire, Misheck Nkhata and Mia Crampin.- from the Karonga Prevention Study (Malawi), the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the University of Amsterdam – to produce the online and print exhibition.
Visit the exhibition here
On the Record is running a workshop exploring oral history and place in Hackney as part of Adult Learners Week. Map your personal history onto Hackney and learn the basics of oral history including interviewing skills and using recording equipment in this creative workshop.
It is free of charge and funded by the Hackney Learning Trust. It is essential that you book your place via the Hackney Learning Trust. For adults (aged 20+) who work or live in Hackney.
Book your place online here and choose OTR/01D: Moving Memories from the dropdown menu. Alternatively for more information or if you wish to book your workshop place over the phone, you can speak to one of the Learning Trust’s advisers on 020 8820 7431 or 020 8820 7075.
The workshop will be held at the Hackney Picturehouse on Mare Street from 10 am to 5 pm on Tuesday 16 June 2015. Pre-booking is essential.
On the Record Seeks Performance Poet / workshop facilitator to lead poetry workshops with children interpreting the history of the Traveller community in Hackney. This is part of the larger project ‘A Hackney Autobiography: Remembering Centerprise’
Venue: St Dominics Primary School, Homerton / Hackney Wick, Hackney, London.
Participants: Up to 15 Year 5 and 6 students. (10 – 11 years old)
- To confidently lead engaging poetry workshops.
- To support the students to write their own individual poems in response to their historical investigation into Hackney’s Traveller community.
- To train the students in performance / slam poetry techniques.
- To support the students to perform the poems to their peers and to be filmed or recorded.
Time commitment: 3 x 1 hour after school sessions (exact timing to be confirmed), held weekly in late June and early July. Exact dates to be confirmed. Some time will be required to coordinate with On the Record before the workshops begin. All sessions will be supported by both the school and On the Record.
Fee: Tenders in the region of £500 considered.
Contact: email@example.com or 0785 322 8023 for more details.
To apply please send in a covering letter and CV by 9 am on 1st May 2015. The letter should explain:
– How you possess the required skills.
– Your previous experience working as poetry / performance poetry facilitator.
– Why you would like to work on this project.
– A description of how you would facilitate the three sessions you will hold with the students.
– The cost of your time.
A Hackney Autobiography: Remembering Centerprise [https://on-the-record.org.uk/projects/hackney-autobiography-remembering-centerprise/] is an 18 month oral history and community archive project (2015 -2016) recording and exploring the history of community bookshop, centre and publisher Centerprise (1971 to 2012.) Centerprise published local writers, including many poets, along with memoirs and collectively produced histories of Hackney. It also hosted a crèche, youth activities, space for events, a café, bookshop, advice centre, office and meeting space for local groups to use and a Reading Centre for adult learners.
These workshops are being held in the spirit of Centerprise by enabling the participants to creatively record and respond to a currently underrepresented part of local history. The students will learn about the history of the Traveller community in Hackney, and will be trained in oral history interviewing techniques. They will then interview elders from the Traveller community. There are records of Gypsies and Travellers in London dating back to the 17th Century. A traditional stopping place was Hackney Marshes. According to the City and Hackney Wellbeing Profile there are 600 -800 Gypsies and Travellers currently living in Hackney. The first three workshops in the series will focus on the historical aspect and will be led by On the Record.
In the final three workshops you will work with the students to produce poems in response to what they’ve learnt about the history of the Traveller community. The poems will relate this learning to the students’ own lives and experiences in Hackney today. Once the poems are complete you will then support and train them to perform their poems, which will be recorded aurally / visually.
The recorded poems will later form part of a digital, online map that will be one of the final outputs of A Hackney Autobiography. This will be available to the public through guided tours, remotely on the internet and in situ on mobile devices.
About St Dominic’s:
St Dominic’s Catholic Primary School is an inclusive, ethnically diverse two-form primary school. They have around 50 students who belong to the Irish Traveller community (there is a total population of around 300 Gypsy, Roma or Traveller children living in Hackney.)
Read more here: http://www.stdominics.hackney.sch.uk/
About On the Record:
On the Record is a small cooperative Community Interest Company (not for profit). We manage oral history and heritage projects, run participatory courses and produce historical interpretation in a wide range of media. Our previous projects include Sounds from the Park: an oral history of Speakers’ Corner and Arming All Sides: the arms trade and the First World War.
Read more here: https://on-the-record.org.uk
Read more about the Traveller community here:
Come to Bishopsgate Institute on Saturday 24 January to launch A Hackney Autobiography, a new project remembering Centerprise, a unique cultural institution that operated in Hackney from 1971 – 2012.. This event will bring people who remember Centerprise’s work together to share memories and writing from the time and discuss its work and impact.
When: 24 January 2014, 2 – 5 pm.
Where: Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH. Venue is wheelchair accessible.
What: Free public event for all those who remember Centerprise. Bring photographs, publications, documents from the time and your memories. Refreshments provided. All are welcome, please RSVP.
On the Record is looking for dedicated volunteers to record and research memories and publications associated with Centerprise, a unique cultural institution that operated in Hackney from 1971 – 2012. We want to recruit a diverse group of volunteers of different ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. Download a full role description and details of how to apply by the 7th of January at 5 pm here.
Centerprise was a groundbreaking community centre in Hackney (established in 1971.) It hosted a bookshop, publishing project, reading centre, café, youth club, crèche and more all under one roof in Dalston. It not only sold books, it made it possible for local people to write and publish their own works of poetry, autobiography and history.
A Hackney Autobiography will record and remember the history of Centerprise focusing on the period from its inception in 1971 to the early 1990s through oral history, gathering a permanent archive, conducting free workshops and events and producing a book, learning resources and digital experiences. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and will run until July 2016.
Volunteers can get involved in any or all of the following areas: oral history, archiving and research.
– Oral history volunteers should like meeting new people and be excellent listeners. They should be willing to travel to people’s homes and be fairly flexible about when they interview people.
– Archive volunteers should be willing to do routine tasks like scanning publications, as well as more creative work. They will help decide which publications to preserve and share things that inspire them through writing and posting on social media.
– Research volunteers should like reading, listening to archive recordings, be methodical about recording and sharing their research, be willing to work independently and act on their own initiative.
Thanks to everyone who came to the first of a six part digital storytelling course at Redmond Community Centre. What a fun and fascinating group of people! We’re looking forward to supporting you in the development of your audio-visual projects over the coming weeks. Below is a map of Hackney from the workshop – each dot is connected to a story or inspirational person that will be developed into digital stories over the coming weeks.